Dear Parishioners and friends,
Our church buildings will remain closed until further notice. As this is the case, I offer you a recorded and written reflection here which outlines some of my thinking over these last three months.
For the audio version of these reflections please click here
Hello, I hope this finds you well.
Often, we are not mindful that God is the source of all life, and without Him we would not be. Yet the heart of man is such that it is continually drawn to its physical, its fleshly, its material environment without taking the time to understand that we have a God whose very will animates all of life.
Recently, the low angle of the January sun was beaming through our bedroom window onto a vase containing blue and green glass pebbles. Sprouting from the pebbles were colourful wooden lilies. I have walked by that vase and flowers hundreds of times over a number of years. Yet on this occasion, as sunshine flooded the room, I could not help but pause and enjoy the pebbles glistening in the rays and admire the brilliance of the painted wooden lilies.
There are many reasons I had walked by that vase so many times without a notice, but this time, I was not in a hurry. I was not locked into some previously scheduled commitment. I had allowed myself the time to notice the sun’s rays as they shown into our bedroom. Secondly, the glass pebbles captured the light of the sun in such a brilliant manner that it was impossible not to notice them.
The display was so spectacular it might have been tempting to take that vase to another location where it might be shared with others. But there is one hitch — without the sun, that vase of wooden lilies set in glass pebbles is merely a pleasant bit of decor. It was the sun shining directly upon it that made that bit of decor captivating, that made the glass pebbles sparkle and brought out the colours of the wooden flowers, lifting the arrangement to my attention. Moving the vase and its contents without the benefit of the sun would fail to accurately testify to the experience of the same vase and flowers bathed in brilliant rays of sunlight.
The same is so often true in the lives of people everywhere. We try creating and recreating our lives according to physical and material realities. Yet, the sole reason our existence is full of goodness and life is that God, the source of all Life, is shining through us and blessing our lives. The radiance of our lives is due to God’s abundant goodness.
Christian worship is an opportunity for all believers to gather together and celebrate God’s goodness in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). When we follow Jesus in our lives, we submit to God’s Spirit, and that Spirit becomes alive within us (Romans 8:5-6). Submitting to God’s Spirit is a decision to be made in every circumstance of every day. Consider praying the words from Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” In addition, these words from Psalm 104:30 remind us of God’s Spirit within our lives and around us, “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.”
God’s Holy Spirit activates us — believers of Christ Jesus — and leads us into fellowship with Him. As Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all ( 2 Corinthians 13:14).” This indwelling of the Spirit is intended for all God’s people. God has invited you into the enjoyment of fellowship with the Spirit. It is through a close relationship with the Spirit that we comprehend the power of God within us, and we touch the grace that is ours in Jesus Christ.
As you read this, most of you find yourselves prevented from public acts of worship. You may be confined to your home, perhaps even within a single room. Just as that vase of flowers that glistened in the sun captured and elevated my own thinking, remember, the Spirit of God is not confined by this material world — by circumstances — but shines anywhere and everywhere there is an open heart. Do not fret about the inaccessibility of a building, the absence of collective worship, or the lack of fellowship with other people. Take heart that the Spirit of God is within you and shines through you when your heart and mind are renewed in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Today, let the Spirit of God shine upon you, transform you, and elevate you.
And may you and those you love walk in the fullness of God’s Blessings,
God Bless you,
Tel. (028) 37117
If you would like to see other reflections written by the Rector you may find them here: http://tommystuppence.blogspot.com
If you would like to hear some of Steve's sermons online then please click here
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